Russia invades Ukraine live updates: The U.S. and its allies consider a ban on Russian oil imports
Several Western powers are having an "active discussion" about banning such imports from Russia, while ensuring there's enough of an oil supply for the rest of the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Meanwhile, TikTok and Netflix announced they were suspending their services to users in Russia over that country's invasion of Ukraine.
A look at more of the recent developments:
- More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled into neighboring countries. See some of the faces of the crisis.
- Israel's prime minister secretly flew to Moscow to try to mediate with Russia's president.
- Food security experts say the war will exacerbate severe malnutrition and starvation around the world.
Follow the latest news on the invasion below.
Netflix suspends its service in Russia
Streaming giant Netflix has joined other companies in blocking its services in Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement to NPR, the platform cited "the circumstances on the ground."
Russian forces cut most communication at Europe's biggest nuclear power plant
The staff at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe are now answering to Russian commanders, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
The regular staff at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine are on the job, but now all their actions require the approval of the Russian military.
The IAEA's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said Sunday the change violates one of the "seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security," which calls for staff at nuclear plants to be able to make decisions without "undue pressure."
Ukrainian authorities told the IAEA that Russian forces have also shut off some mobile networks and the internet, preventing plant staff from communicating with Ukrainian nuclear regulators.
Grossi said he was concerned about the changes, adding that "reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are a critical part of overall nuclear safety and security.”
Russian forces captured the plant after heavy fighting led to a fire on Friday. Grossi said earlier that the plant's safety systems remained intact and there was no release of radioactive material.
Some countries aren't cutting Russia off
Not all of the world's nations have joined the U.S. and its allies in issuing sanctions against Russia.
Countries like India, Brazil, Sudan and South Africa so far have maintained their ties.
Listen to NPR correspondents break down why that's the case.
TikTok temporarily bans new video uploads from Russia
TikTok said it would suspend live-streaming and new content being uploaded from Russia as it reviews the implications of the country’s new law against what the government calls “fake news” about Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It’s the latest tech company to pull back from Russia.
TikTok said it will review the safety and implications of Russia's new law, emphasizing that the in-app messaging service will not be impacted.
"The safety of our employees and our users remain our highest priority," the company said.
TikTok said it will continue to monitor the evolving circumstances in Russia and will determine when it will resume its live-streaming services.
On Friday, Russia announced the country would cut off access to Facebook, citing cases of Facebook's "discrimination" against Russian media — including recent restrictions of state-backed outlets such as RT (formerly Russia Today), Sputnik, RIA and others, according to Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications authority.
Blinken says there's an 'active discussion' about banning Russian oil
The United States and its allies are having an "active discussion" regarding the banning of Russian oil and natural gas imports, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.
“We are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil on world market,” said Blinken during an interview on CNN.
Blinken told CNN that President Biden called a meeting with his National Security Council regarding the issue of the ban on oil and natural gas from Russia.
Currently, the U.S. imports less than 10% of its oil from Russia. The administration is worried about how a ban could affect gas prices. But both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are pushing to end imports from Russia given it's a large source of revenue for the country.
At least 364 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, the U.N. says
At least 364 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion of the country, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Sunday.
The organization said at least 759 were injured. The numbers cover the time between the start of Russia's invasion on Feb. 24 and March 5.
OHCHR believes the real figures of the exact casualties are "considerably higher," especially in areas controlled by the Ukrainian government.
Most of the civilian casualties reported were caused by the use of "explosive weapons with a wide impact area," such as shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems in addition to missile and airstrikes, the OHCHR said.
Israel's prime minister secretly flew to Moscow to meet with Putin
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew in secret to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and with the blessing of the U.S.
That's according to Bennett's office. NPR has reached out to U.S. officials to confirm whether they knew or approved of the meeting.
The prime minister's office said Bennett and Putin spoke again after their Saturday meeting.
Israel has been speaking with Russia and Ukraine to help mediate the crisis. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had requested Israel's help as that country is close with both Russia and Ukraine.
Rep. Jim Himes says Zelenskyy was remarkable on call with U.S. lawmakers
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's video call with members of Congress was remarkable, Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., told NPR.
Zelenskyy held a call Saturday with over 280 U.S. lawmakers, making it clear where exactly the country needs help: military aid and securing its skies.
Himes toldWeekend Edition that while Zelenskyy wants a no-fly zone, the Ukrainian president recognizes what he asked for essentially was a very "big step." NATO has rejected calls for a no-fly zone, saying it could provoke a larger war with Russia.
"What was remarkable about it was [that] President Zelenskyy spoke with conviction, with strength and made a very direct ask. ... He did say 'if you can't do a no-fly zone ... I absolutely need aircraft and I need people to stop buying Russian oil,' " Himes said.
The White House said on Saturday that it was working to help Ukraine acquire Soviet-era MiG aircraft, possibly from Poland. The Biden administration has so far been hesitant to halt imports of Russian oil, but the administration is not ruling it out.
1.5 million refugees have now left Ukraine in the last 10 days
More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries over the span of 10 days, according to Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees.
In a tweeton Sunday, Grandi says it's the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
According to the U.N. refugee agency, around half of the refugees are in Poland, with Hungary, Moldova and Slovakia being the other top destinations, while others have fled to various other European countries.
Speaking alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said 250,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Moldova since the start of the war. According to data from the U.N. some 80,000 are still in the country while many have moved on to other countries.
"They cross our border being exhausted, desperate, after long hours of journey escaping from the war," she said. "It is our moral duty to help them out, and we’ll continue fulfilling this mission to our best extent." But she added that Moldova needs "urgent assistance" from other countries to accommodate the influx of refugees in a country of less than 3 million people.
Thousands were detained in anti-war protests across Russia
Russians in dozens of cities across the country have staged anti-war demonstrations, following a call by advisers close to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
As of Sunday, the independent OVD-Info monitoring group reports over 2,500 were detained across 49 cities, with more than 800 in Moscow and more than 380 in St. Petersburg.
"The screws are being fully tightened -- essentially we are witnessing military censorship," Maria Kuznetsova, OVD-Info's spokesperson, told Reuters.
Since protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, nearly 11,000 people have been detained across Russia, according to the group.
Given the number of protests, there was a heavy presence of special police forces patrolling near the Kremlin on Sunday, with Red Square sealed off. A similar scene played out near Palace Square in St. Petersburg — which has seen repeated crowds protest the war.
A cease-fire to evacuate civilians from Mariupol fails for a second day
The National Guard of Ukraine says Sunday's cease-fire was broken and the evacuation plans have been halted after Russian forces opened fire.
It was the second day in a row a cease-fire to allow the evacuation of civilians from the port city of Mariupol has failed.
Civilian evacuations from the city of Mariupol were scheduled to begin at noon local time during a 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. local cease-fire, according to The Associated Press.
Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko says the planned evacuations were stalled due to an ongoing assault.
“There can be no ‘green corridors’ because only the sick brain of the Russians decides when to start shooting and at whom,“ Gerashchenko said on Telegram, according to the AP.